About Time

A 54 year old Wedderburn man received a 12 month good behaviour bond and was ordered
to pay $218 in costs after pleading guilty to killing a kangaroo without a permit. The case
was heard on 4th September, 2014. No conviction was recorded.
A DEPI wildlife officer said the man shot and killed an Eastern Grey Kangaroo at his property
in December 2013. “Kangaroos are classified as protected wildlife under the Wildlife Act,
1975 and it is an offence to destroy protected wildlife unless you have an authority to control
wildlife permit” said the officer.
“DEPI reminds people that if they have concerns about issues with wildlife they can contact
their local DEPI office.

What !!

Melting ice
The Antarctic ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in history data shows. Three years of
data from the European Space Agency’s Cryosat satellite shows the Antarctic ice sheet is
losing 159 billion tones of ice a year – twice as much as when it was last surveyed from
2005-2010.

The polar ice sheets are a major contributor to the rise in global sea levels. These new
losses from Antarctica are enough to raise global sea levels by 0.45mm each year, say
scientists from the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.
Oceans of Plastic
As much as 88% of the oceans’ surface contains plastic debris, raising concern about the
effect on marine life and the food chain, scientists say.
Mass produced plastics from toys, bags, food containers and utensils make their way into
the oceans through storm water run-off.
The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are based on more
than 3000 ocean samples collected around the world by a Spanish science expedition in
2010..

PELICAN RESCUE Lynne Waller

Saturday evening 7th June, 2014, Denise rang me to say that there was a pelican on the Loddon river at Bridgewater with a fish hook in its wing.
Given the contact phone number by Denise and I rang and explained that it was too late to come out straight away as it would be too difficult to attempt a rescue in the dark, particularly on the water. I advised them to keep observing the bird but do not disturb it.
I was out there by 9am Sunday morning. With the help of everyone concerned for the beautiful bird we managed to get it off the river. Horrified to see the size of the lure that was not only attached to its wing by a large vicious tri-barb hook but also another tri-barb hook embedded midway along its upper bill I puzzled on just what we could do.
A phone call to the White Hills Animal Hospital to organise an examination of the bird and then we were on our way. Anna and Murray at the vet clinic were horrified at the size of the lure, Murray used bolt cutters to remove the lure.
I took Bellie Pells, as I called him, home but decided to take him across to Brenda’s as I didn’t have a big pen to keep him in, so Sunday afternoon having to suffer yet another indignity the unhappy but obviously relieved pelican was arranged in my car with his medications and the trip to Brenda’s place was made without incident. So, good luck Brenda and happy pelican sitting.

Pelican

Threatened Species Day

September 7th was Threatened Species Day

This date commemorates the death of the last known Tasmanian Tiger after decades of human persecution caused the species to be unsustainable.
.
The Grey Headed Flying Fox is the focus this year.
This animal is currently facing huge persecution in a number of areas and states of Australia. Grey Headed Flying Foxes are absolutely vital in the pollination of many of Australia’s forest trees. These trees that only flower overnight cannot possibly be pollinated by birds of a daytime. These highly intelligent animals are forced to roost in places that they’d probably prefer not to…..but deforestation, logging, floods, drought and other factors have forced them to move around Australia in search of food and new roost sites.
Many Australian Government departments have virtually declared war on them as residents refuse to share their surroundings with them. Forcing them to leave their current roosts usually only breaks up the colony into smaller groups and they rarely end up going well away from the urban areas they also call home.
They are not vermin laden pests as many people label them. Very few carry disease and as they do not “attack humans” ….. there is no way of being infected unless you intend on handling them. Carers, who look after these beautiful creatures when they get injured, are immunised against Lyssa virus….just to be certain.
Grey Headed Flying Foxes are also a good indicator of a healthy environment. If they aren’t doing well then the local ecosystem is also suffering.
These Flying Foxes are a threatened species and we humans should all be doing our best to assist their survival. The world would be a sadder place if these creatures no longer exist and our own existence would then become threatened.
The environmental work they do is very specialised.

All living creatures just want to live a peaceful existence with somewhere safe and comfortable to call home for themselves and their babies with enough food and water nearby to keep them healthy. What right do humans have to prevent the simplistic needs of so many species…..it’s not the animals who are in our way. Rather us who are in theirs.

 

See: www.thebrink.org.au/organisations.html

Welcome to WRIN

Welcome to the

Wildlife Rescue and Information Network Inc.  (WRIN)

WRIN inc. is an organization dedicated to the the rescue and rehabilitation of native fauna found injured, sick or orphaned.  All of its members are all volunteers.

If you find injured or orphaned wildlife, please call the number below.  Do not send email it is too slow.

0419 356 433

Articles that are from the most recent Newsletter can be easily grouped by clicking on the “Newsletter” category

Not More Browse!!!! – Brenda

One morning I was sitting quietly with a cuppa after the second of the daily feeds and wondering just how much longer I would be tramping the neighbourhood looking for leaves when the phone rang “do you have room for a koala”? My first thought was ‘the branches’, where would I get enough branches for a koala, as well as those needed for the gliders and possums, not to mention, the gunyah and space for a koala. The only area I had still vacant no longer had a usable gunyah, it was laying on the ground in one of the large aviaries where it had been put when the shed used for koalas had its floor concreted. The koala was at the vet clinic being examined and the rescuer had called regarding questions the vet had regarding the injuries. I told the vet the koala would no doubt be very thin and also badly dehydrated. The vet confirmed these concerns as well as a description of the injuries sustained in the road accident. The injuries were diagnosed as probably fixable so the dehydration and starvations were possibly the major concerns. I explained the problems koalas in our region have during the very hot windy summer weather and that most often they are found on the ground having fallen out of their tree through dehydration and starvation. I asked for it to be given large amounts of fluids over the day and organised it to be left at the clinic overnight. There went the cuppa and relaxing hour and off I went to try to set up the gunyah which was spectacularly unsuccessful although I had most of the required bits and pieces when my rescuer arrived with the koala the following day and he set up the required seating arrangements for the patient.
The major accident damage to the koala was around its mouth, however it was incredibly thin – the spine was prominent – and despite being given lots of fluids, the dehydration was still calculated as severe. The injury meant it was unable to eat leaves, so began the thrice daily routine of mixing and feeding special semi-liquid food, spoon by spoon which took almost an hour each time. This mix offers nutrition and fluid, both much needed. Over the next few days the koala was given more fluids and antibiotics and it began to lap the food straight out of the bowl taking the almost 3 hours each day eventually down to half that time. Leaves were also set up around the gunyah although only a few as it was unable to take any except new soft tips and these had to be hand fed and held until each leaf was well into the mouth. The hand feeding of the soft food continued for 3 weeks then reduced over a week until it was no longer given and the koala was close to release. It had begun gathering its own leaves after the first week but only soft premium young leaves were eaten – old dull dry leaves were simply not acceptable so the ‘leaf hunt’ was spreading further and further away. When Garry was home he would drive for 15 or 20mins from home to find trees, my lovely rescuer also called in a few times with fresh picked branches. Release day is always a mix of ‘but what ifs’ and relief at the lightened work load. This was no exception.
Currently we have no leaf eaters in care, the gliders canopy leaves don’t have to be lush and edible, just suitable for the 3 in care females to practice their bobbing, weaving, gliding and harvesting of insects and nectar before release in a short time and I’m very thankful for that but still find myself checking out every tree on the way anywhere and wondering just where I would be positioning myself with the loppers in order to cut a branch without dropping it directly on me.
BUT WAIT – I’M NOT FINISHED JUST YET WITH BROWSING
I’m not the only one with stealth and agility – well, these days maybe neither of us could boast much stealth or agility – who gathers browse for Brushtails and Ringtails in care, friend Cheryl has the same daily chore.
For both species, but more so for Ringtails, as well as gathering leaves we also take note of flower buds, and blossom from native trees and shrubs and before too long know where we’ll be grocery shopping today and where it will be tomorrow and the next day and so on. Why? Because that particular shopping centre has native trees or shrubs with young leaves, blossom or buds and the next one has buds yet to open so its noted for later in the week. We can manoeuvre our way around housing estates in exactly the same way – the houses with flowers hanging over the fences are often our special targets.
Unlike me, Cheryl on occasion collects her browse after dark and related to me the adventures of a few weeks ago. After dining out she remembered one of ‘her’ special trees was close by and decided to give her possums some of the luscious offerings from this tree. Being a familiar tree, no light was needed so off she tripped with hubby in tow to the tree. Standing on tippy-toes and reaching high she gathered a large handful of small branches with what looked/felt to be suitable leaves which suddenly felt not quite right, it felt as though something much more substantial than a handful of leaves had been gathered. Now, I’m listening to the tale and wondering what was to come when the laughter starts and I’m told about the very indignant magpie that had been ungraciously woken from its nightly slumber and dragged from its comfy leafy bough – I suggest it’s probably just as well that we are yet to master magpie language but I gather it didn’t sound complimentary. But yes, our intrepid leaf collector was successful and took home the spoils. I wonder if she also related the adventure to her beautiful charges and if the magpie ever slept in that tree again.

Brush Tailed Phascogale – Brenda

The Brush-tailed Phascogale [Phascogale Tapoatafa], also known as a Tuan is classified in Australia as Uncommon, and Rare in Victoria. It is listed under the Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act, 1988. Under wildlife shelter permit conditions, operators are required to inform DEPI if this species comes into a shelter.

Distribution in Victoria

Brush-tailed Phascogales were once more widespread in Victoria but are now found in a broad band across lowland Victoria from east of Tallangatta, south-west to the Apsley and Chetwynd areas of south-western Victoria.
The 500mm annual rainfall is the approximate northern limits of this species in Victoria and in most locations there is little difference in summer and winter rainfall.
Altitude range is from 20m to 700m although they have been recorded to 1500m in central NSW.
They once occurred on the Gippsland Plain and nearby foothills, the Bellarine Peninsula and at Mallacoota Inlet. Records from these areas are all pre 1970. Despite many fauna surveys being conducted in the East Gippsland area over the past 25 years there are no recent records.
The Box-Ironbark forests of Central Victoria are a significant proportion of its range.
Some areas Brush-tailed Phascogales have been reported from are – Chiltern Box-Ironbark NP, Reef Hills SP, Rushworth SF, Whipstick SP, Taradale, Brisbane Ranges NP, Paddy’s Ranges SP, Kara Kara SP, and Mt Alexander.

Habitat Preference & Requirements

The Brush-tailed Phascogale inhabits dry open forest and woodland with a sparse understorey and ground cover.
In Central Victoria the preferred habitat is the Box-Ironbark forests and in southern Victoria they use mixed Stringybark-Box Forests.
Common eucalypt species in their habitats include Red Stringybark, Red Box, Long-leaf Box, Grey Box, Yellow Box, Red Ironbark, Mugga Ironbark, Yellow Gum and Messmate.
Understorey and ground cover may be sparse often consisting of scattered grass tussocks and forest litter.
Brush-tailed Phascogales prefer to forage in larger trees with trees <25cm diameter rarely being used. Ironbark and Box trees are the preferred foraging trees with Stringybarks rarely being used if the others are present, however the bark of Stringybarks is required for nest construction. Smooth barked trees such as Yellow Gum are often present but they are rarely used as Brush-tailed Phascogales have difficulty climbing smooth barked trees. Dead and malformed trees with rotten wood and hollows are also important foraging and nesting sites.
Individual Phascogales have been recorded using between 10 and 40 different nest sites each year. Sites may be in tree stumps, hollows in dead or living trees, under flaking bark or in old babblers nests. Sites such as flaking bark, babblers nests and low tree stumps offer little protection from predators and in some cases the weather. Where natural hollows are uncommon artificial hollows are quickly accepted by phascogales as den and nursery sites. Ceilings of houses and sheds have also been used.
Females are particular in their selection of nursery nests requiring a large cavity accessible by a small hole (30-40mm wide) competition for such hollows is intense with species such as Sugar and Squirrel Gliders also requiring hollows and with feral honey bees using them for hives.
The home range of Phascogales is large, over 100ha for males and 20-70ha for females.

Breeding

The frenzied mating season occurs in May and June after which (about July) all male Brush-tailed Phascogales die at an age of 11-12 months. The frenzied mating season appears to leave them susceptible to stress induced diseases that kills them. This must be taken into account with males brought into shelters at this time of year. Births occur from mid June to early August after a gestation of about 30 days. Females have 8 teats although a small percentage have only 7. Females commonly carry litters of less than the number of teats, one study found a mean litter size of 6.6 at midway to weaning. The young are permanently attached to the teats until they are about 7 weeks old. At this stage they weigh only 2.3 to 4.2g. they are now left in the nursery nest while the mother forages at night. For the first few days she returns to the nest frequently to suckle and warm the young.
Lactation lasts for up to 25 weeks and weaning to solid foods begins at about 14 weeks and is a gradual process extending over 6 or 7 weeks.
Juveniles disperse in early summer. Females commonly abandon their home range to their litter with the females establishing territories in or near the maternal home range (within 2km) and the males dispersing widely. One male is known to have travelled 15km over a 6-week period.
Females seldom survive 2 years and usually succeed in raising only one litter.

Diet

The Brush-tailed Phascogale is a carnivore that predominantly feeds on arthropods such as beetles, spiders, centipedes and ants, which they extract from crevices in the bark of trunks and large branches of trees and rotten wood of dead and living trees, occasionally they also feed on the ground. Nestlings and House Mice caught in traps are also known to have been taken.
Flowering eucalypts, particularly Ironbarks and Boxes are also visited where they feed on nectar.

Threats

In much of the preferred habitat of the Brush-tailed Phascogale natural hollows are scarce forcing them to use less protected nest sites where they are more vulnerable to introduced predators such as Foxes and Cats (both feral and domestic). There is also predation by Goannas and Owls.
Feral bees invade hollows making them unsuitable for native species.
Removal of standing dead and large live trees for firewood and other uses reduces available foraging sites and potential nest/den sites.
Clearing, degradation and fragmentation of preferred habitat may leave populations stranded, or in a situation where they have to cross open ground where they are more vulnerable.
Fire is also a threat particularly in isolated populations. If isolated populations are to survive some males must reach maturity each year.
The large home ranges, low population density, short life span and male die-off period make this species particularly vulnerable to local extinctions.
There are a number of reports of Brush-tailed Phascogales drowning in water tanks. Entry and outlet points to tanks should be covered to prevent these and other species entering.

Ed. note : Release requirements

Details that are collected when this species arrives at a shelter are most important and may mean the difference in the survival or death of the released animal.
Phascogales exist in very low-density populations due to the small amount of prey available (which necessitates large home ranges). Due to the territorial nature of females, the exact location where the animal was found is crucial for its release. Unless there is some factor e.g. found on busy road or brought in by cat or dog, animals must be released where they were picked up or in suitable habitat very close by. Homework may have to be done to find a suitable release point If for some reason this isn’t possible. DEPI should be consulted as to the closest records of the species to the pick up point, local field naturalists may also be of help in this regard. Call Garry on 54 612970, he knows local areas and can find out where they are located close to their pick-up spot. . Always remember that the released animal will need a large patch of bush to survive or corridors between patches.
Always release in the hollow that the animal has been in whilst in care. Another hollow that has been in their enclosure and marked with their scent should be placed some distance away. Hollows should be placed high enough to be out of harms way.
An important point to remember is that male phascogales only live for one year so release as soon as possible is essential to give it the chance to establish its own territory and mate before it dies.
An environment as natural as possible needs to be created in the phascogales rehabilitation area.

Tuan

Tuan recently photographed by a member near Goornong central Victoria

As phascogale nails are not as sharp as some of our other arboreal mammals, it is important to place their release hollows in rough barked rather than gum barked trees, and as part of the preparation for release at least part of the natural food being offered to the animal/s in care should be hidden in crevices or rotten wood in their enclosure. Remember there won’t be bowls of food in the bush for them.

What does it Mean?

The status of our fauna species comes under several categories, you need to note the status of any wildlife that comes into care as species listed from the Threatened status upwards should be reported to DEPI and always must be returned from the area they came.
THREATENED is the collective term used to denote taxa that fall into the first three categories below
1. CRITICALLY ENDANGERED :This is the category for anything facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future
2. ENDANGERED : When a species is not critically endangered but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future
3. VULNERABLE : When a species is not critically endangered or endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future
LOWER RISK : Near Threatened : when it has been evaluated but does not satisfy the criteria for any of the above but which comes close to qualifying as vulnerable. In practice these species are most likely to move into a threatened category should current declines continue or catastrophes occur
DATA DEFICIENT : Is the term used when there is inadequate information to make a direct or indirect assessment of its risk of extinction based on distribution or population status. More information is required.

An Unusual Rescue in Bendigo – Ken

A member of the public called the WRIN phone and reported that they had sighted a wombat walking down a road on the outskirts of Kangaroo Flat! Member Jenny was sent out to rescue it but could not find anything resembling a wombat. She door knocked, left our WRIN cards and waited for an actual sighting of a wombat.
Later that day Jenny received a call to say the wombat was under one of the callers cars in their driveway and called to ask me to help her with the rescue and had asked our DEPI wildlife officer for advice on what to do. He said if it was a wombat and was not injured at all release it in a suitable wombat area. Because we don’t get a lot of wombats in Bendigo we took what we thought would be needed as our rescue gear, a heavy blanket, gloves and very large bin [and hoped it would be enough!].
We arrived to find, sure enough, an adult wombat under a car. After some poking and making lots of noise it just dug into the gravel drive and stayed wedged under the car. Plan ‘B’ was to start the car and hope it would frighten it out. Sure enough not long and out came a big wombat with a rush towards Jenny holding the blanket and me with the bin. Into the bin it went which must have looked like a safe. dark hiding place. We gently and slowly tipped the bin up and covered it with the blanket, quickly loaded wombat, bin, blanket, Jenny and me into the vehicle and drove to where it was to be checked and a release organised.
We asked the caller to check and call if he or any neighbours sighted a wombat again. So far no more sightings.